I have been working on what I call the “FEEL principle of fine art photography” (Feels right – Exposed right – Esthetically right – Looks right) that predominantly taps into the right side or “artistic side” of the brain (thus the use of the word “right”) but also both sides of the brain. These factors come together as a gestalt of fine art. It takes into account my definition of fine art photography…
• F – “Feels right” refers to the overall feeling one gets from creating or viewing a photograph. This refers to the “felt aesthetic”. It is one of the reasons people stop and linger over certain art and not others. It “speaks” to them on a visceral and intuitive level. The photo has depth and impact. It is an emotionally rewarding experience as it provides a harmonious sensation and sensory experience based on the content and context of beautiful elements within the photograph.
• E – “Exposed Right” refers to more technical processes on how the photograph was captured and created. It refers to exposure lengths and creative photographic techniques (e.g., long exposure techniques, exposing to the right, intentional camera movement, etc.) along with post-processing techniques (e.g., Ansel Adams and Fred Archer’s Zone System of exposure and development) to obtain a creative result as part of the photographer’s overall vision. It also refers to confidently revealing yourself as a “fine art” photographer through new creative possibilities in photography and social media engagement in the wider art and photography community.
• E = “Esthetically Right” refers to broader concepts of capturing, creating and expressing beauty with your photography so that it stimulates an inspirational exploration of the emotional, intellectual and even spiritual depth of the art. The photography provides a visually rewarding experience. This also refers to a set of underlying values and inspired motivations where the “felt aesthetic” is the currency of the artist.
• L = “Looks Right” refers to photography based on elegant compositional choices (e.g., golden ratio) and quality standards (e.g., archival prints). This also refers to both objective and subjective impressions and discussions about the sophistication of the photography in relation to other works considered fine or beaux art, the primal intentions of the individual to create art (much like painters) through the medium of photography. I am not referring to “artsy” talk here but a thoughtful comparative analysis of influences and inspiration.
If a photographer’s compendium of work embodies the FEEL principle, then it may be considered part of a classification we call “fine art” or “art” photography. In essence, there may be degrees, categories or a continuum of fine art that we have to consider, ones that meet most of the criteria in the definition and principle as a foundation rather than an umbrella label called “fine art”.